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Author: Owen Roberts

Good things happen when beef meets wheat

Bison that inhabited the Canadian plains were always on the move, grazing as they went and fertilizing their natural pastures with their own manure. Calgary beef farmer Ben Campbell simulates that scenario in a sustainable practice called high intensity rotational grazing. Chefs like Humber College culinary director Jerome D’Souza uses Canadian beef in his wheat and flank steak chili, a tender, nutritious and delicious meal for students on the run.

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Succulent short ribs are long on sustainability

Brewer’s grain mash, a beer-production byproduct, is safe for cattle to consume, easy to digest, and readily available. The owners of First Line Angus near Hagersville, ON point to its high fibre and protein content that helps reduce their feed costs and diverts the mash from landfill. At the University of Waterloo, executive chef Javier Alarco takes the same approach to making the best use of all good ingredients.

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Grandma didn’t make stew that tastes like this

Culinary experts say that every growing region has its own ‘terroir’ – the area’s physical and environmental characteristics that influence the taste of the crops and livestock that grow there. The Francis family of Prince Edward Island believes that’s why PEI beef is such a “secret gem.” University of PEI executive chef David Jenkins agrees, and uses it to create a stew with eclectic flavours students love.

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Campfire-inspired cooking on a campus-wide scale

Family-oriented cattle ranchers look at their land from the perspective of what they’re leaving for their kids, the next generation. That care-taking mindset drives B.C. beef producers Erin Durrell and Jeremy Kishkan, as they focus on low stress and low-impact cattle rearing. Quality production, along with maintaining his home province, is a key consideration of UBC’s sous chef in residence Johnny Bridge, who takes culinary inspiration from memories of beach campfires on the Sunshine Coast.

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This tender beef sandwich starts with sustainable grazing

Grazing cattle make good use of land that’s not suitable for cropping, but they need to be well managed – for example, kept out of streams to prevent erosion and preserve water quality. That’s just one of the eco-friendly measures the Seelhof family of Woodjam Ranch, B.C. takes to sustain their land. Their efforts are appreciated by University of Victoria sous chef Chris Hillier. He says the key to bringing out the full flavour of beef from families like the Seelhofs is braising, so the liquid can penetrate with taste and tenderness.


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Urban Cowboy

Raising awareness and promoting dialogue about current food and agriculture issues.


Headshot of Owen Roberts

Owen Roberts is a faculty member in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications program at the University of Illinois. As an agricultural journalist, he is the past president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and a lifetime achievement award recipient from the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation.

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